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Lufthansa to buy most of bankrupt Air Berlin

Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa will sign an agreement to buy large parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin. Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr said Germany’s largest carrier will take over 81 of Air Berlin’s 140 leased aircraft and 3,000 of its roughly 8,000 employees, while investing €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion).

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He expects the deal would get European Union approval by the end of the year.

Air Berlin’s long-haul flights will cease at the end of this week, and tickets for all flights from the end of this month will be invalid.

Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease financing. Air Berlin has since late September been negotiating exclusively with Lufthansa and U.K.-based low-cost rival EasyJet. EasyJet declined to comment on the progress of talks on Thursday.

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